More and more visitors love parks!
Attendance continues to grow at New York’s state parks, historic sites and campgrounds, with nearly 38.4 million visits from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day of 2016, an increase of more than 120,000 visits from last year’s summer season. State Park attendance has grown exponentially over the last five years, reflecting Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strong efforts to improve and promote New York State Parks as a part of his NY Parks 2020 program to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020. Learn More
New playgrounds for parks
Thirteen new playgrounds are coming to State Parks. They are part of Governor Cuomo's goal to modernize 100 State Park playgrounds by 2020 and build on the Connect Kids to Parks program to draw more youth to the outdoors. The state has committed $2.5 million to build and improve 13 of the play areas at 11 state park locations.
Under the initiative, State Parks will replace outdated playgrounds at the parks with safe, modern equipment designed for younger and older age groups. Playground improvements will be coupled with site improvements, including shade trees or canopies, seating, water fountains and pathways to the rest of the park. Learn more
Mohawk Valley project illuminates New York’s diverse history
An original ”stonehouse” dating back to the 18th
century at Johnson Hall State Historic Site has reopened to the
public, providing newly restored space to better learn about the work and
living conditions of some of the enslaved people at the Fulton County estate.
Johnson Hall was the site of three races and cultures of people,
Europeans, enslaved Africans and Native Americans who lived, worked and visited
this site for trade and diplomatic purposes. While the primary focus of
interpretation at Johnson Hall has been Sir William Johnson’s relationship with
Native Americans as the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs, the
completion of the stonehouse project will allow the site’s educators to better
tell the tragic but important story of African-American people who shaped the
history of the Mohawk Valley and New York State. Read More
Better basketball and handball courts at Gantry Plaza State Park
New York State Parks, the
Long Island City Youth Sports League and community partners, celebrated
the grand opening of a $568,000 renovation of the basketball and handball
courts at Gantry Plaza State Park. The renovated athletic facility was made
possible through NY Parks 2020 program as well as $150,000 in
funding from The Coca-Cola Company and a partnership with the National
Recreation and Park Association.
The project at the complex on 48th Avenue in Queens included replacing the play
surface for the three basketball courts, installing new posts, backboards,
hoops and nets, repairing and repainting the seating wall, repairing fencing
and drainage systems, as well as additional repairs and fencing for four
To mark the opening of the new facility, the Long Island City Youth Sports
League offered a day-long series of basketball clinics for youth in grades 1-7.
State Parks will also be teaming up with Coca-Cola to offer expand youth
basketball programs at Gantry Plaza State Park next summer. Read
Behind the Scenery with Lilly Schelling, Wildlife Specialist
long have you been with the agency? I have been
with the agency for over 3 years – I started in May of 2013.
does someone in your position do? As a Wildlife
Specialist I work statewide collaborating with the regional biologists and park
staff to preserve, enhance, and manage wildlife and their habitat in our State
the coolest thing you’ve ever done? One of my most memorable
experiences was participating in the annual Northeast Partners in Amphibian and
Reptile Conservation meeting at Allegany State Park. It was awesome to be
around so many knowledgeable and passionate Herpetologists at a park that has
great reptile and amphibian diversity-especially when we went searching for
the coolest thing you’ve ever seen? My
favorite wildlife encounter was with a rare Blanding’s Turtle (these are on the
state’s threatened list). These turtles have a bright yellow chin and throat,
giving the impression that they are smiling! Turtles are one of my favorite
creatures to observe; I have great respect for them.
there a destination in the park/region you’d recommend to someone? One of my
favorite places to go for a paddle is Dunham Reservoir, part of Grafton Lakes
State Park. I highly recommend this location, especially during the fall to
inspired you to work in the park system? I choose
this job because I want to be a part of protecting and preserving the diverse
wildlife and unique ecological communities in our State Parks for generations